Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

The Beauty and Limits of Math

Published October 12, 2018

The Mystery of Our Mathematical Universe

A world-renowned physicist and a leading science writer and artist discuss our mathematical reality.

Mathematics is a powerful tool that can be used to describe and model behavior in our world and the universe that surrounds us. It drives computers, helps to launch rockets into space, and allows us to do business. Some have even posited that mathematics is the language of the universe, whose laws reveal what appears to be a hidden order in the natural world.

In this video from our recent event, physicist S. James Gates, Jr. and science writer Margaret Wertheim sit down with Wisconsin Public Radio’s Steve Paulson to explore the uncanny ability of mathematics to reveal the mystery of our universe, and touch on some of its limits.

Join us for more events in this ongoing series, Conversations on the Nature of Reality, which we're co-presenting with The Nour Foundation and Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge.